Top

blog

Stories

 

How To Make Money On the Backs of Mexicans, Olive Oil Edition

aceite_de_oliva-web.jpg
Laila Derakhshanian
Last week in our Tijuana Sí! column, I wrote about one of my favorite food products anywhere in the world: Misiones de Baja California, an olive oil so good I feel lucky to be close enough to get my hands on it.

Jay Porter loves it too. He's the owner of El Take It Easy and the Linkery in San Diego. One of his restaurants sells fancy homemade sausages; the other is a pipirisnais gastropub. He is really the first American restaurateur to promote Baja olive oil in a big way, and he uses Rancho Cortés oil exclusively in his kitchens.

While he's promoting the wonderful products of Baja California, he's also making fistfuls of money on the backs of Mexicans. Here's how you make a quick $5,000 if you've got your conscience locked away somewhere where it can't interfere:

  1. Buy 80 liters of olive oil from the press for about $7.50 a liter.
  2. Drive 75 miles north.
  3. Buy 200 fancy glass bottles and some pinche fresa labels.
  4. Fill the bottles, 400 mL each.
  5. Sell the bottles to Whole Foods-weary North Park hipsters for $30 each, which works out to $75 a liter.
According to his website, Ensenada Olive Oil, Porter has sold two batches from different ranches. The going price for olive oil in the Valle de Guadalupe tops out at about US$12 a liter; at the prices Porter is setting, it's more expensive than Scotch whisky. Let's hope he's sharing some of that profit with the people who produce it.

In keeping with this week's print edition, our hands to the Mexicans who work hard to make a great product; our fists to profiteering crackers like Jay Porter. Buy Misiones de Baja California oil, the best in the world, but buy it in Mexico. It's worth the trip, if for no other reason than to put a stick in the eye of people like this.

Follow Stick a Fork In It on Twitter @ocweeklyfood or on Facebook! And don't forget to download our free Best Of App here!


My Voice Nation Help
11 comments
Merrick
Merrick

This line seems straight out of the ask a mexican column: "our hands to the Mexicans who work hard to make a great product; our fists to profiteering crackers like Jay Porter" I believe Jay Porter is doing a good deed introducing mexican flavors into the american palette, nothing wrong with making money along the way.

speakup
speakup

Never go to Mexico it is too dangerous and corrupt, and America is land of opportunity, if the Mexicans don't like the price we pay for their product don't sell it!!

jaime
jaime

Your "off the backs" comment is absurd.  Either the producers of the oil or millions of Mexicans or Californians could themselves create this same market ... it's called business.  Just because there is money to be made doesn't make it exploitation.

Jay Porter
Jay Porter

We ensure the product goes through US customs and we package it and label it on the US side.  I trust in the people we work with and I believe we are doing everything correctly and legally. We are making a great product available on this side of the border, and there are people in the US who are appreciative of that. This very columnist, after all, said that Rancho Cortes olive oil is the best olive oil in the world, and our (Ensenada) olive oil is a single-orchard component of that olive oil.  Who wouldn't be interested in trying/buying it?  Even if it costs an amount comparable to high-end California or Italian olive oils.

Lenny Sandoval
Lenny Sandoval

I don't know what kind of deal you have with the press, but if you're simply taking someone else's finished product and re-packaging it as something else, you might have some trademark and U.S. customs issues. Don't get me wrong, importing a great product and making it available to a new group of customers can be great for everyone involved, but there are rules for this kind of thing. I just hope that your "Mexican friends" are the owners of the press/brand and you guys are doing everything on the up and up.

Jay Porter
Jay Porter

I too recommend that anyone buy their olive oil south of the border - not only is it cheaper, it's a great trip with amazing places to eat and drink!  That said, I stand by the value of the product compared to other boutique olive oils in Southern California.   I do the project as a fun, personal side project sharing a product I love with people who are interested in the same things I am.  If I make five grand on it, I will be super stoked and I doubt any of my Mexican friends who are part of the project will be upset either.  If I don't make a penny, that's cool too.   If we run into each other in Baja, don't be a stranger.  You're entitled to your opinion, it's all right.  Just know that I'm not as cynical as you seem to think. Best regards Jay Porter

Merrick
Merrick

Jay, you're response has earned you respect in my book.

Agliopiccante
Agliopiccante

Is he doing anything illegal? Is he ripping the olive oil producer off? What obligation does he have to share profits? 

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Carrion Fairy: Read his website! I can vouch for the fact that the oil costs about 100 pesos a liter when bought in large plastic tubs (the glass bottles cost more for obvious reasons).

Leonard Sandoval
Leonard Sandoval

I see a number of legal issues with this, unless he has some sort of deal with the press...

Carrion Fairy
Carrion Fairy

Wait... he openly states that he's doing this?

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...